The 10 Best Songs Written By Niall Horan: From One Direction to Solo Debut 'This Town'

While we were waiting for Harry Styles to finally drop solo music, another former One Directioner beat him to the punch. It was Niall Horan -- the group’s main instrumentalist -- who followed Zayn by becoming the group's second member to release his own music outside of 1D, with last week’s “This Town.” He reminded fans he hasn’t left his knack for acoustic ballads behind with One Direction and let them know there’s even more on the way, announcing a deal with Capitol Records. Rest assured, Niall’s got more than golf on his mind these days, even if his Twitter feed might tell you otherwise

With a successful solo career potentially on the horizon, we decided to revisit the songs Niall has co-written with his group. As it turns out, there are a lot of awesome ones — it must be those six-string chops! From the earliest days of One Direction to those leading up to the British boy band’s hiatus, here are our picks for the best songs Horan had a part in creating. 

1. One Direction, “Don’t Forget Where You Belong”

One Direction experimented with a wide variety of sounds and styles in their five-year career -- their ballads are just as memorable as their anthems. “Don’t Forget Where You Belong,” from the band’s 2013 album Midnight Memories, exists in the former camp. Niall wrote it alongside beloved British pop-rock group McFly, a sensitive number with a double meaning: extending a hand of kindness for a friend, partner or fan, and reminding everyone that One Direction will forever remember their humble origins. Horan told Entertainment Weekly how much he loves the song, sharing that it “gets a good reaction during [live] shows, and yeah, when I was writing it there was a lot of sentiment behind it.” We believe it.  

2. One Direction, “Story of My Life” 

This one is more of a group effort, as it was longtime One Direction songwriters Jamie Scott, John Ryan and Julian Bunetta who served the group the initial version of “Story of My Life.” Apparently the guys were so flippin' pumped when they heard a rough demo of the track, they immediately jumped in to finish the tune. So this is partly a result of Horan’s genius, but also the rest of the lads. Aww!

3. One Direction, “Night Changes”

In the later 1D albums, our British boys started experimenting with more adult sounds, especially that in the classic-rock mold. “Night Changes” is a delicate reading of that energy, all the guys teaming up once again with in-house writers Scott, Ryan and Bunetta.

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4. One Direction, “Change Your Ticket” 

Bonus track time! “Change Your Ticket” is technically the thirteenth track on the band’s last album with Zayn Malik, Four. The entire band wrote it with Bunetta, Ryan and another regular collaborator, Sam Martin. It’s easily one of the sexiest songs the band has ever written, and we'll give Niall some credit for that one.

5. Niall Horan, “This Town”

It’s his first solo single, and if it’s any indication of the direction he’s headed in, we can assume Niall is going full-on singer/songwriter mode, a la best bud Ed Sheeran. That’s, like, the opposite of a bad thing? Here’s to the future!

6. One Direction, “Back for You”

This track can be found on 1D’s sophomore album Take Me Home and reflects early maturation within the band. It’s dedicated to the struggle of having to leave a loved one all the time, and with One Direction’s tour schedule, they know the subject better than most. Being on the road all year long probably weighed heavy on the hearts of all the boys, not just our main man Niall.

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7. One Direction, “Never Enough” 

“Never Enough” is a slow-burner on the group’s last album, 2015's Made in the A.M., and just so happens to be the track Niall is proudest of. He told Entertainment Weekly about the process:

It was kind of a new sound that we had never tried before and I had never really written in that sound, either. When you hear the song you’ll know what I mean. It’s very different. I was happy with the way we had written it, and the way we came about it. We were just on the piano one night in Julian [Bunetta, writer-producer]’s house, and we were sitting around and having a couple of beers and then It just kinds popped up on the piano and it’s not played by trumpets. So when things like that happen, you feel proud.

Truly!

8. One Direction, “Everything About You” 

The best 1D songs are all about love, right? The British babes conquered that immediately on their debut album, Up All Night, with “Everything About You,” a severely underrated track penned by the boys (Niall included) and songwriters Steve Robson and Wayne Hector.

9. One Direction, “Same Mistakes”

Another early gem is “Same Mistakes,” written by the same folk as “Everything About You,” and almost feels like a continuation of it -- sometimes you love and give and relationships just don’t work out. Niall knows that heartache, and it makes for a great track.

10. One Direction, “Fool’s Gold”

Love is a confusing mistress, and Niall knows it as much as anyone. In “Fool’s Gold” he and his band team up to tell the tale of unrequited love, detailing the intimate trickery inherent in infatuation. If anyone ever breaks his heart, we’ll provide the shoulder to cry on.

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